There was an undeniable air of excitement surrounding the 49th Hong Kong Coin auction with, among other rarities, the inclusion of an extraordinary 1897 Chekiang Province Year 23 Silver Pattern Dollar. Lot 517 of the 1130 lot auction was one of only two pieces known to Baldwin’s, the other being the Goodman Coin, sold at auction by Superior Galleries of California in June 1991. It was also unknown to Eduard Kann when he wrote his standard catalogue work on Chinese coins in 1954. The present specimen was brought in to Baldwin’s by the great grand nephew of one Vice-Admiral Alois von Accurti (1869-1919), to whom the coin originally belonged. The Vice-Admiral was active in the naval operations off Crete in 1897 but retired from the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Navy soon after. Accurti served as naval attaché at several embassies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire around the World. We know he was in London in 1914, and according to family tradition he also served in the Far East, where he acquired, among other souvenirs, Japanese swords and oriental porcelain some of which are still owned by the family. Accurti was not a coin collector, but was presumably presented with this coin in his official capacity. The lot carried an impressive estimate of US$150,000 – 200,000 and realised an even more impressive US$368,000. Both Baldwin’s and the vendor are absolutely delighted with the result.
Held on the 26th August at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Kowloon the 49th Hong Kong Coin Auction proved to be one of the most successful staged by the group so far. Seth Freeman, Baldwin’s principle auctioneer, commented after the sale ‘Baldwin’s reputation in the East has been growing steadily over the last 15 years and we are very pleased that, yet again, industry demand for outstanding pieces outstripped the diverse number of rarities we were able to offer for sale in Hong Kong. A great result for both our vendors and our buyers.’
Over 120 eager bidders packed into the auction room, with an additional 70 bidders logging in to participate online through the services of www.the-saleroom.com. Bidding both online and in the room was fast paced and frenzied with 10 or 20 hands going up at once on the top selling lots, dwindling down to one last bidder only to find another 6 or so new bidders coming in as the hammer was going down. The results from the sale reflect just how much interest was generated pre-sale by such a large number good quality, rare items. As in previous years lots were selling for up to 10 times their estimates with sensational bidding on the Chinese coins proving that there has been no decline in the strength of the Chinese artefact market. Although bidders flew in from all over the world the strongest prices were attained from Chinese bidders both in the room and on the internet. The pre-sale estimate of US$1,156,150 was smashed with lots achieving a staggering US$2,005,709.